Morgan Stanley announced the third cohort of the Multicultural Innovation Lab, an accelerator program for technology and technology-enabled start-ups in the post‐seed to Series B funding rounds. The program, now in its third year, targets companies with a multicultural or woman founder, co‐founder, CTO or other C-suite member that is developing innovative solutions across sectors. Following two successful years that resulted in company acquisitions and additional funding rounds, the Lab will make investments in these early stage high growth companies and will support the founders’ growth and development through its ecosystem of internal and external partners, said a statement.
“This program has seen tremendous success over the past two years, and I am looking forward to helping this next group of founders accelerate their businesses and make signficiant strides in executing their strategies,” said Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley and Head of the Multicultural Client Strategy Group.
“The Lab’s goal is to provide these founders with additional contributions toward their future success by leveraging our expansive and global networks, resources and expertise that will hopefully attract the capital needed to scale,” said Harris.
The Lab is designed to help drive positive economic outcomes for entrepreneurs of colour and women by providing content, visibility, technical support and connectivity with important stakeholders who might be essential in accelerating the growth of their businesses, as well as access to an ecosystem of best in class global partners providing a variety of resources.
The companies, selected out of over 300 applications submitted, will be fully immersed in the program working from Morgan Stanley’s global headquarters in Times Square, New York, and receive support from a dedicated team creating tailored experiences to help each company grow. The six-month program will begin in April and run through the fall, culminating in the third Multicultural Innovation Lab Showcase and Demo Day that will expose companies to potential investors through showcase format presentations.
Understanding that access to capital alone isn’t sufficient, the Lab brings in best-in-class content and connectivity for the entrepreneurs. William Crowder, formerly head of Comcast Ventures’ Catalyst Fund and now Founding Partner at 42 Venture Partners, will be returning as its Entrepreneur-In-Residence.
Crowder will serve as a strategic advisor to both the entrepreneurs and the Multicultural Client Strategy team throughout the duration of the Lab to help participating companies address and conquer challenges that will increase performance and progress. Additionally, with input from other partners such as Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, entrepreneurs in the Lab will have unparalleled access to subject matter experts, practitioners and investors all committed to their success.
“There is a compelling business case for investing in startups led by women and multicultural founders, yet, as found in our recent report, there is a large market inefficiency to accelerate businesses led by these founders,” said Alice Vilma, Co-Head of the Multicultural Innovation Lab. “We are working to directly address this funding gap, one cohort at a time.”
The companies that have been selected for the 2019 cohort are:
BLUEWAVE Technologies: It is a health tech company that makes a device used to quickly sanitize and deodorize health care items, such as orthotic and prosthetic devices without using water, detergents or manufactured chemicals, providing broad implications for healthcare settings.
Care Advisors: It is a Medicaid enrollment software for hospitals and insurance companies that reduces the barriers and time it takes to enrol in Medicaid, benefitting both patients and medical providers.
Cosynd: Cosynd provides an affordable and legal toolkit for individual content creators and businesses to generate simple legal agreements and copyright registrations with others faster than before.
Five to Nine: It is a platform that empowers HR teams to improve workplace connectivity and promote inclusion, as well as effectively manage and measure real-time feedback from employees on culture building opportunities.
Gappify: It is a cloud-based bot platform intended to equip corporate accountants with the solutions needed to automate repetitive, time-consuming and error prone tasks.
Looklive: Looklive provides pictures of the latest celebrity fashion which is shoppable through their website, and also collaborates with influencers to develop monetization strategies for their personal brands, via partnerships with retailers.
Mighty Well: It creates medical wearables to cover, protect and stylize medical devices, such as chest ports, feeding tubes, PICC lines and diabetic pumps.
ShopJenzy: It is an e-commerce platform powered by innovative sizing technology that makes it easy for parents to buy the right size shoes for young kids online.
SmartGurlz: It is an education platform that teaches girls to code through play. Their flagship product is a robot that young girls learn to code and control through an educational app.
TAINA Technology: It provides regulatory technology that leverages computer science to empower financial institutions to automate FATCA and CRS compliance saving them money and reducing risks.